Have you ever thought about starting a side hustle? Or running your own business?
This is now possible and can be done in a few steps with today’s technological advances.
In fact, if you have the expertise and are willing to offer your services to people, you can be a freelancer~ Fiverr is one platform that you can join to find clients who pay for your services.
Today, we’ll explore the specific steps that you can take to start freelancing~
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1. List Down Your Interests, Passion & Expertise
The first step you should do is list down all your interests, passion, skills and expertise.
Are there topics that you’re always reading about in the news or books? Do you get excited when doing a specific activity? Do you have any hobbies? What skills are you proficient in?
Note that this doesn’t have to be complex things like PPC marketing or data analytics. It could be really simple too and things that you didn’t know you already have. For instance, I’m bilingual. Meaning that I can offer translation service.
Do try to draw a Venn diagram and see if there’s anything in the intersection (areas where the circles overlap). If there’s something that is both your passion and expertise, you can consider monetizing it and earn extra cash on the side.
Check out my blog post on how to find your passion and turn it into a business~
2. Decide On The Services You’ll Offer
Once you’ve decided on the services that you’ll offer, you’ll need to list them down. Try to be as specific as possible.
For example, if I offer PPC services, I might offer a one-time PPC campaign setup and a monthly PPC campaign management service. Perhaps, I might offer a bundle that includes both setup and management.
This would be your service menu. And of course, you’ll need to include the price.
Do define the frequency you’ll charge clients. As shown in the example earlier, I might charge monthly or it could be a one-time fee. Also, define the quantity. For example, my prices are charged per PPC campaign. But depending on the complexity of each campaign (eg. a campaign with a dozen ad groups), I might charge higher. Likewise, you’ll need to consider both the quantity and quality of your services and price them reasonably.
I highly recommend that you check the market rate. See how much your competitors are pricing their services. Or you can always see what other freelancers are charging at the freelancer platform that you intend to join. For example, Fiverr gigs are usually $5, $10 etc. You can then charge $5 for a 100-word paragraph as a beginner freelancer offering content writing service.
Also, do spend some time thinking about your revision policy. How many changes are included in each service? What things are considered minor changes? What things are considered major changes? What is the revision turnaround time?
3. Create Your Portfolio
Build credibility and trust through your portfolio that highlights your skills. Show potential customers what you’ve done. This could be any past designs you’ve created or how you’ve helped a business gain 100 leads in a month.
It doesn’t have to be a fanciful website, especially since you’ve just started freelancing. Instead, it could be a simple folder of documents and pictures in your Google Drive that you can share with potential customers. Do watermark them just in case! It could also be a free WordPress blog with testimonials and case studies of how you’ve helped your clients. Do ensure that you’ve received permission to feature them.
Most freelance websites will allow you to upload pictures so you can use this feature instead to showcase your portfolio.
4. Sign Up For An Account In A Freelance Marketplace
If you have connections or already have a few interested clients who want to hire you, you can consider creating a website or a simple landing page with the basics (your contact details, payment channel and portfolio).
However, if you’re just starting out with no connections, the better option would be to register yourself at a freelance website. Such platforms already have a huge client pool so you don’t have to find projects yourself. But note that you’ll still have to make your service stand out or bid for projects.
Fill up your profile, list the services you offer, how much you’re charging for each service and include examples of what you’ve done. Look through the FAQ articles and get started guide to learn how the platform works. If they have tips for new freelancers, do bear them in mind and implement them, especially tips on how to secure your first freelance project.
At the start of your freelance journey, you might have to offer your services at a low rate to encourage clients to give you a chance. But rest assured that once you’ve established your skills and more customer are giving you raving reviews for your service, you can begin charging higher prices for your service. Your schedule would probably be fully packed by then. This also means that you can consider charging rush fees for priority turnaround.
5. Leverage Paid Ads To Maximize Visibility & Boost Your Revenue
Most freelance websites will offer paid ads where you can promote yourself and your services. This is a quick and easy way to get more eyeballs. With this paid promotion, you’ll gain more exposure and thus, more orders for your service.
But of course, you need to ensure that your profile and services are high quality. Engaging descriptions, extra services and top reviews have more chances of converting visitors into customers. Increasing your daily budget will help you reach more interested clients. However, I strongly suggest that you start with a small daily budget. This way, you can test if your ad works and refine it further. Only increase your daily budget when the ad is converting well.
Fiverr, for instance, allows you to advertise and promote your gig in a few clicks. Fiverr’s paid ad is pushed to the top of the results page so your gig’s exposure grows by up to 200%. You’ll only pay for clicks on your ad. Also, you can control and optimize your ads anytime.
6. Deliver Your Sevices & Complete Projects As Promised
After signing a deal with your first client (and every client after that), you’ll need to deliver what you promised. You’ll have to treat it seriously, especially if you intend to continue freelancing for a long while.
However, keep in mind that what you’re doing is within the project scope. If the project scope isn’t clear, discuss with your client and reach a consensus. This means that you should have a detailed outline of all aspects of a project, including all related activities, resources, timelines and deliverables as well as the project’s boundaries. The project scope should also outline key stakeholders, processes, assumptions and constraints as well as what the project is about, what is included and what isn’t. Make sure you have this documented somewhere so both parties can refer to it at any time.
7. Politely Ask Customers To Leave Reviews
A freelancer with zero reviews sends a red flag immediately to potential clients.
So, do ask your first few customers to leave reviews and let them know that their review counts and is super helpful to new freelancers.
As you gain more reviews, it’s good practice to learn from these honest reviews. Note that it’s recommended not to reply to reviews, whether good or bad reviews. I love learning from reviews that readers have left on my books. In fact, I have a spreadsheet listing down the bad parts of my books (I don’t see them as bad but more like areas of improvement) and another column with the actions that I’ll take to improve my fiction writing. I feel that such honest reviews are good for the business (too many good reviews only reduce trust!).
Now It’s Your Turn
Are you planning to be a freelancer? How is your experience so far? What obstacles did you face at the beginning of your freelance journey and how did you overcome them?